A century ago, America was not in good shape. There was mass unemployment, World War I and the Spanish flu had claimed a million American lives, and the government had no money. Against this backdrop, Warren Harding, editor/publisher of a local newspaper, managed to become president of the United States. He changed a nation.
Harding was wildly popular, especially among women. With his policies, he rocked the cradle of the roaring twenties: a society that was dancing, indulging in the charleston and forbidden cocktails. Suddenly, jazz music came blaring from the White House. Almost everyone found a job and a roof over their heads again. Millions of people began reading newspapers. They saw movies, bought radios, gramophones, refrigerators and cars. When Harding suddenly died in August 1923, nine million people lined the tracks to say goodbye to him.
Six years after Harding's death, the Great Depression broke out, followed by World War II. Everyone forgot about the former president. Was he too far ahead of his time with his opinion that black lives matter? Was it because he fell in love with his neighbor's wife? Or did politicians and historians retrospectively look for a scapegoat after the party came to such a screeching halt?
Based on unique archival material, including Harding's recently released love letters, Willem Meiners brings the forgotten president back to life. De verliefde president is a highly original and entertaining story about courage, hubris, adultery, blackmail and a man who came just too late and left too soon.